Union hosts art exhibition created by Ford workers
Detroit — The United Auto Workers union is hosting an exhibition of 90 artworks created by Ford Motor Co. employees across the country, an event that organizers say illustrates the marriage of art and the automotive industry.
The inaugural "Art Collaborative" takes place Friday night at the UAW-Ford National Program Center. It features works created by 44 hourly and salaried workers. Independent judges will award artists for painting, photography, mixed media and "Best of Show."
Roy Escandon, an event coordinator, said the exhibition highlights how artistic talent is key across the industry, from product design to the factory floor.
The event reflects the skills employed in the industry, Escandon said. "If you go to the paint shop, to be able to see any imperfections in the paint itself. … It shows their passions outside of work that actually parlay into what they do for work."
In addition to paintings and photography, pieces on display will include sculpture, tapestry, glassworks and jewelry. Friday's exhibition comes after this week's UAW national bargaining convention in Detroit, which sets the agenda for the union's bargaining efforts.
One of the featured artists is Richard Haskin, a third-generation UAW-Ford member who has worked at the Ford Research and Engineering Center in Dearborn for decades. His photographs capture Italian influences in Detroit's architecture, art and culture.
"Turin, Italy and Detroit are very alike in a lot of ways," Haskin said in a statement. "They have both benefited from, and are dependent upon, the automotive industry and both suffer when the industry pulls back."
Similar art events have taken place involving Chrysler workers, Escandon said.
Following the exhibition, some of the art will be displayed at the UAW-Ford National Program Center lobby. Others will go to Ford's Dearborn headquarters, Escandon said, and others may be taken on the road. The works are on loan from the artists.